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Actual Innocence

Actual Innocence

Book Two in the Chumash County Series

California lawyer Greg Monarch was in no mood for visitors. But it's not every day a federal judge comes knocking at his door, especially with a curious request: to review the final appeal of a murderer on death row who personally asked for Greg's assistance. Tired of defending killers, Greg has every intention of turning it down—until he discovers the prisoner is a former lover he hasn't seen in two decades: the fiery, impetuous Sarah Trant.

Her fate determined in a verdict rendered five years before, Sarah was found guilty of slashing an old man's throat in central California's sheltered El Nido Valley. All subsequent appeals have been denied. Now, six months from execution, she turns to the one man she hopes can save her. Greg failed once before trying to rescue Sarah from her private demons. This time, however, the demons may not be just in her head...

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"A powerful, contemporary tale, enriched by surprising examples of how the law works and how it fails...[A] tour de force."
   —The Los Angeles Times

"Gripping and complex...Fascinating...highly atmospheric...a lush, hypnotic setting."
   —Detroit News/Free Press

"Highly recommended...A thriller filled with a wealth of legal detail and realistic characters that will appeal to Phillip Margolin fans."
   —Library Journal

"Siegel is a talented, compelling, enjoyable writer."
   —San Francisco Chronicle

"A winning story packed with bizarre plot twists, high-octane action, bizarre characters, and a slam-bang finish. A thumbs-up choice for mystery fans."

"Despite its sleepy appearance, the tiny hamlet of El Nido, Calif., harbors terrible secrets...Siegel beautifully captures the flavor of scandal in a small community—the knowing looks, the awkward silences, the amateur attempts at coverup."
   —Publishers Weekly

Ballantine Books, Hardcover, October 1999, ISBN: 978-0345413093
Ballantine Books, Paperback, January 2001, ISBN: 978-0345413109